I was diagnosed with MDR-TB

"In total I took about 21 tablets a day plus an injection for the first six months."


Hi! My name is Ra-eesah Dustay.

So as any student after high school (which I finished in 2013) I started searching for work. Eventually, I got a job, which started in May 2014.

Funny enough I started getting these random painfull aches over the left side of my chest but never really took note of them until I started having a throat problem. I couldn't eat and when I coughed it hurt really bad.

I then went to see a doctor in my area. He said it was just a normal throat infection and my chest sounded clear and prescribed antibiotics. Once I finished my meds, after about a month, the same thing happened but this time the pain over my chest stopped me from walking.

I then went back to the doctor and he suggested I go for X-rays and perhaps a TB test. I went to one of the local clinics in Goodwood, Cape Town. Two days later the clinic sister left me a voicemail to come in early. She said it was urgent. She then gave me my diagnosis that it was multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) and I needed to treat it immediately.

I asked if I could be treated at the clinic in my area instead because I would need to travel. I started on 7 July 2014. In total I took about 21 tablets a day and an injection for the first six months.

This was all a real shock to me, I knew that you can die from MDR-TB as I lost my dad, but he never took his meds and if he did he would still smoke and drink alcohol. I then started Googling what to do because I gave up. But I never stopped believing that, somehow, God knows why he gave this to me.

I then came across Phumeza Tisile's story. I was blown away by the courage she had and I wanted to do the same and get my story out and encourage others. I was shocked to see how many people actually have MDR-TB.

However at that point I was still too weak and just layed and slept all day, there were days where I couldn't walk at all; my body was weak and tired, and I had to stop working for about  nine months.

I returned to work in April 2015 because of our circumstances at home. I am aware that I should still be at home because I'm not better yet but I can't right now.

I then started getting seizures as everything was too much for me. I was then at Somerset hospital for about five days doing lumbar punctures and doing all sorts of different tests. I then found out that the TB had spread to my brain and the doctor then put me on lifetime epilepsy medication.

I hated it because I already never liked the fact of all the TB meds, and now I had to drink two more tablets. I was then discharged from hospital and went to see the TB doctor in my area at the clinic and told him what had happened. I told him that, to me, it's not a big thing - I would like to just be healthy. I know I won't be 100 percent but I at least want to be able to provide for my mom as she has for me all these years. I am currently still on medication and will keep you up to date based on my progress. Thank you for taking time to read my story.